The Issue with the Philippines
Though nobody could have every anticipated the Spanish â€œattackâ€ on the American warship, this event became the pivotal turning point of the war between the United States and Spain. On February 15, 1898, Spain â€œattackedâ€ the U.S.S. Maine, which became the driving force for the Americansâ€™ intervention of Spainâ€™s occupation in Cuba. Though this attack is now deduced as actually a way to blame Spain for a coincidental accident, it is still debated if the U.S. anticipated conquering the Philippines, and how this eventually occurred.
In short, the Americans did, from the start, express an interest in seizing the Philippines. Theodore Roosevelt, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy during that time, along with Admiral George Dewey expressed that they â€œwanted war; and that [Roosevelt] had some sort of a prior ...view middle of the document...
Yet why did President McKinley present his oblivion over such matters? At the time, because the war with Spain was primarily to cease the inhumane conditions Cuba was forced under by the Spanish rule, and to appease the rising public outcry from the U.S. citizens. Thus, it would have been preposterous to further complicate matters, as well as use more resources and military force, by taking control of the Philippines as well. No doubt the irrationality of this decision is best put by Carl Schurz, describing it as â€œa hideous nightmareâ€. President McKinleyâ€™s intention for controlling the Philippines was purely for economical and religious reasons. President McKinley, while addressing his clergymen, noted that in a dream God had given him a mission to â€œeducate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize themâ€. According to the diplomat John Barrett, the Philippines would also serve as â€œthe southern key to the Far Eastâ€, serving as means for commerce.
Yet despite these worthwhile intentions, and possible larger economic prosperity for citizens of the United States, many of the Americans did not appreciate the war. The colonel of the 15th Minnesota Regiment, General Reeves, quoted â€œI deprecate this water, this slaughter of our own boys and of the Filipinos.â€ The only supporters of President McKinleyâ€™s plan were those that directly profited from the commerce, that is, the Republican party.
Indeed, the American occupation of the Philippines can be justified by the fact that the Philippine islands were eventually granted their independence after World War II, nearly half a century later. Yet still after their â€œindependenceâ€ the American influence was left, and was not fully ratified until another half a century later. The United States, nicknamed â€œthe land of the freeâ€, emphasizes its value of self-government and independence. Yet as Americans we denied this very principle to the people we sought, according to McKinley, to â€œeducateâ€, and thus we defy ourselves through the treatment of the Philippines.